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Condemned Ohio killer of teen asks board to spare his life

  • Lawyers for Ohio death row inmate Alva Campbell, 69, say he uses a walker and colostomy bag, has asthma, emphysema and possibly lung cancer 
  • Campbell is scheduled for execution on November 15 for the 1997 shooting death of 18-year-old Charles Dials 
  • Campbell, a career criminal, served two decades in prison for a fatal bar shooting in Cleveland in 1972 

By Associated Press and Snejana Farberov For Dailymail.com

Published: 00:09 EDT, 12 October 2017 | Updated: 10:04 EDT, 12 October 2017

An Ohio death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month for murdering a teenage boy is begging the governor of the state to spare his life because he is too ill to be put to death.

Convicted killer Alva Campbell uses a walker, relies on an external colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day for asthma and emphysema and may have lung cancer, his attorneys said in a filing with the Ohio Parole Board.

Campbell, 69, was also the product of a violent, dysfunctional and sexually abusive childhood and continued to suffer abuse after he was placed in foster homes, the lawyer argued.

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Alva Campbell, 69
Alva Campbell, 69
Charles Dials, 18
Charles Dials, 18

Condemned man: The undated mugshot on the left shows death row inmate Alva Campbell, 69, convicted of fatally shooting 18-year-old Charles Dials (right) in 1997

'Alva's development suffered, and the chances of him becoming a responsible adult withered,' wrote lead attorney David Stebbins, a federal public defender.

Campbell's attorneys argue his case is similar to that of Joseph Murphy, spared by Republican Gov John Kasich in 2011 ahead of his scheduled execution for slashing a woman's throat during a robbery.

The parole board recommended mercy for Murphy, noting his childhood growing up in West Virginia in which he was beaten, starved and sexually abused.

The board planned to hear arguments for and against clemency on Thursday. A decision is expected to be reached within a week. Kasich has the final say. Campbell is scheduled for execution on November 15.

Lawyers for Campbell, a career criminal, want his life spared, claiming he is too ill to be executed on November 15
Lawyers for Campbell, a career criminal, want his life spared, claiming he is too ill to be executed on November 15

Lawyers for Campbell, a career criminal, want his life spared, claiming he is too ill to be executed on November 15

'He's in pretty bad shape,' Stebbins told ABC6 of his client. 'He really looks terrible and can barely get around.' 

Ohio also executed death row inmates in July and September.

Campbell was in a wheelchair feigning paralysis when he overpowered a Franklin County sheriff's deputy on the way to a court hearing on April 2, 1997, on several armed robbery charges, records show.

Campbell took the deputy's gun, carjacked 18-year-old Charles Dials and drove around with him for three hours before shooting him twice in the back of the head as Dials crouched in the footwell of his own truck, a red 1992 Chevy S-10, according to court records.

Dials had dropped out of Groveport High School and got a job at a warehouse to help support his mother and two younger siblings, brother Joseph and sister Kayela.

On the day of his killing, Charles arrived at the Franklin County Courthouse to pay a traffic ticket when he was attacked by Campbell. 

At his trial, prosecutors played for the jury Campbell's taped confession, in which he talked candidly about the killing. 

'I lied to him. I told him I wasn’t going to hurt him,' Campbell told police. 'The kid had a whole life in front of him, and he told me his mom and dad were divorced. Now, his mom is without a son.'

In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch in 2013, Dials' brother expressed frustration that it was taking too long for the state to put Charles' convicted killer to death and bring closure to the family.

Faker: Campbell was in a wheelchair feigning paralysis when he overpowered a sheriff's deputy on the way to a court hearing on April 2, 1997, on several armed robbery charges
Faker: Campbell was in a wheelchair feigning paralysis when he overpowered a sheriff's deputy on the way to a court hearing on April 2, 1997, on several armed robbery charges

Faker: Campbell was in a wheelchair feigning paralysis when he overpowered a sheriff's deputy on the way to a court hearing on April 2, 1997, on several armed robbery charges

Liar: At his trial, prosecutors played for the jury Campbell's taped confession, in which he admitted that he lied to Dials, telling him he would not hurt him
Liar: At his trial, prosecutors played for the jury Campbell's taped confession, in which he admitted that he lied to Dials, telling him he would not hurt him

Liar: At his trial, prosecutors played for the jury Campbell's taped confession, in which he admitted that he lied to Dials, telling him he would not hurt him

Joseph Dials also said he wished to witness Campbell's execution. 

'I hate to say I’d want to watch a man die, but I have to do it,' he said at the time. 

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien opposes mercy for Campbell, who he calls 'a career criminal from youth to old age.'

O'Brien said it was ironic Campbell was raising health concerns to avoid execution given that he faked paralysis to carry out his crime.

'As judgment day nears he again resorts to ill health as a reason to enable an escape from his capital sentence - and should not be permitted to do so,' O'Brien said in a Tuesday filing with the parole board.

Campbell served two decades in prison for a fatal bar shooting in Cleveland in 1972. He was arrested in 1997 after a series of armed robberies in Columbus.

'It is easy to blame deceased parents or a childhood for mistakes or even crimes - but not for two separate murders committed decades apart,' O'Brien said.

A tombstone marking the grave of Charles Dials depicts his pickup truck, in which he was shot to death during the 1997 carjacking 
A tombstone marking the grave of Charles Dials depicts his pickup truck, in which he was shot to death during the 1997 carjacking 

A tombstone marking the grave of Charles Dials depicts his pickup truck, in which he was shot to death during the 1997 carjacking 

In 2008, Ohio executed double killer Richard Cooey after he unsuccessfully argued that his obesity would prevent humane lethal injection because viable veins in his arms were hard to find.

In March, an appellate court ruled Alabama cannot execute a 66-year-old inmate with stroke-induced dementia because he doesn't understand his death sentence or remember the killing

In 2007, Oklahoma executed death row inmate Jimmy Dale Bland who was dying from cancer that had consumed his lungs and spread to his brain and hip bone.

In 2006, California executed multiple killer Clarence Ray Allen minutes after his 76th birthday. Allen was blind and mostly deaf, suffered from diabetes and had a near fatal heart attack before he was revived and returned to death row.

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